Private group sells tickets to Prime Minister’s official speech

Written By: - Date published: 7:30 am, February 10th, 2016 - 56 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, Andrew Little, john key, national, Public Private Partnerships, same old national - Tags:

john-key1

Radio New Zealand yesterday broke a story about how three Auckland Council related organisations had paid for tables to hear John Key’s state of the nation speech. Auckland Transport bought a table for its board and senior managers to hear the announcement of the inner city rail link. Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development bought 38 seats at a cost of $90 per seat for the lunch time announcement. Regional Facilities Auckland bought seats for 5 persons including directors and a manager.

Local board chairs from some of the region’s local boards were invited. I canvassed some of the chairs who attended and although they were appreciative of the invitation they were not aware that a fee was paid.

Apart from Auckland Council Controlled Organisations spending money on attending a speech which was available for free on the web the choice raises an interesting contrast.

Four days later Andrew Little made his state of the nation speech.  The venue was a public park and the cost to attendees was nil.

The content was also different.  The cornerstone of Key’s speech was the final acceptance that Labour and the Greens were right about the inner city rail link and it was actually advisable as well as being necessary.  The contents of Little’s speech was that we are in quickly changing times and we need to prepare.  Little was looking five years into the future.  Key was finally catching up with the trends that were evident five years ago.

But the thing that really bugged me was the fact that Key’s speech was a paid to watch speech put on by an organisation very friendly to the Government which elements of Auckland Council were helping to subsidise.  Can you imagine the outcry if Helen Clark had used a fundraiser put on by E tū Union to deliver her State of the Nation speech?

The Prime Minister, when he is doing his day job, ought to be accessible to all and not fundraising for an organisation supportive of his political party.  And Auckland Council entities should not be spending ratepayer money to allow selected individuals to support this.

56 comments on “Private group sells tickets to Prime Minister’s official speech”

  1. Sabine 1

    only $ 90 per head? that’s cheap as chips.

    • John Shears 1.1

      @Sabine. Really? $90 for lunch doesn’t sound cheap to me.
      In any case that is not the point MS was trying to make.
      I am not really clear who gained any profit from the day if there was any either.

      • Sabine 1.1.1

        Lunch plus the PM speechifying. I mean really….if the lunch was about $ 60 per head, and no that is not an expensive lunch by any means, he’s warbling on and on about how the past will finally be future is cheap as chips – and he ain’t no gourmet chippie either.

        so yeah, cheap as chips that man is. so much volume, so little value.

        • Rosemary McDonald 1.1.1.1

          “if the lunch was about $ 60 per head, and no that is not an expensive lunch by any means, ”

          I think Sabine forgot the /sarc?

        • Graeme 1.1.1.2

          Yeah, agree with what you’re saying. Looks like either they wanted a full house, and/or weren’t expecting a huge uptake for that announcement.

          It’s a lot cheaper than the industry association / chamber of commerce / networking opportunity event invitations that turn up in my inbox daily. Generally they’re a couple of hundred for a lunch, at least. Day long things can be $500 – $1000. Also been a few that have pulled their price back dramatically (Retail NZ one example), small sign….

        • Al66 1.1.1.3

          It is NOT cheap as chips unless you are “well healed”.

          It should NOT be charged for – he is PM, but is a Public Servant – it should be free. Unbelievable.

          • Sabine 1.1.1.3.1

            mate a 90$ lunch and a PM speechifying while you down your Chardoney, is cheap as chips.
            A 60$ lunch is pretty normal if one has an entry, main, desert a glass o’ wine and a coffee. Its not a lunch anyone can eat every day of the week, but the one or two times a year when I go out to lunch, that would be the amount spend per person. But then to us it is a treat.

            but frankly, if the PM sells him for less then a hundred bucks food included for an hour or two, then he is the cheapest PM on the speaker circuit. But then he never struck me as a Clinton or a Bush (both the elder and the younger make more per Lunch then the PM does).
            All you can hope for is that the food was well prepared and generously served, cause the speech was free for everyone else.

    • Anno1701 1.2

      ” cheap as chips.”

      and twice as greasy……

    • mosa 1.3

      Shame the money didnt go to charity.
      Sitting there listening to KEY crap on I hope the food was tasty and it was NZ wine they were drinking.
      It must of been good because rate payers and tax payers footed the bill.
      Bet this doesnt make the MSM news.

  2. One Anonymous Bloke 2

    The report makes no mention of who it was that sold the tickets, and where the proceeds went.

    Are rate-payer funded organisations enabling the National Party?

    • Sabine 2.1

      oh dear….., I am sure we are soon going to be told how it was imperative for the attendees to listen to Dear Leader in person and shake his hand and wipe is backside.

      • crashcart 2.1.1

        I think you are missing the point. If anyone other than the government received the money for seat sales then the PM used his state of the nation speech to profit a private interest. The amount involved is really irrelevant in the end.

    • pat 2.2

      believe it was Auckland Chamber of Commerce

      • One Anonymous Bloke 2.2.1

        Assuming they aren’t laundering money for the National Party, what Crashcart said.

  3. Macro 3

    Look! At the end of the day, it’s acshully not about you – it’s all about me!

  4. Lucy 4

    But hasn’t Nationals SOTN speeches always been pay for view? The Brash speeches was always at Orewa Rotary club and while the Rotarian’s would be subsidised everyone else would have to pay.
    This is part of our Prime Minister’s duties at the beginning of the year to outline the vision for the year and beyond – apparently to know this we need to pay for the privilege or listen to the free live stream.

  5. alwyn 5

    Funny. I can remember people being charged in the past to listen to Andrew Little make a speech.
    Here is an example in Wellington.
    http://www.eventfinda.co.nz/2015/andrew-little-breakfast/upper-hutt
    Only $15.00/head but I’m sure Mickey cares about the principle.
    Is it true that the Auckland event was held at the park because there are very few people who are willing to pay anything to attend a speech by the temporary Labour Party leader?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1

      You don’t understand the difference between a Prime Ministerial duty (for which the Prime Minister has already been paid) and a fundraiser?

      That’s quite sad, actually.

      • mickysavage 5.1.1

        +1

      • alwyn 5.1.2

        “a Prime Ministerial duty”
        Really? And just where in New Zealand law does it say that the PM must give a “State of the Union” speech? You are getting confused with one of the clauses in the US constitution which says –
        “He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union”
        This is usually interpreted that the President gives a speech to Congress in January.

        The New Zealand “State of the Union” dates from a speech which Muldoon started giving to the Orewa Rotary Club in, I think 1967. The first one was given by Piggy, dressed in a Hawaiian shirt and shorts, coming in from his holiday bach.
        This speech isn’t a “Prime Ministerial duty (for which the Prime Minister has already been paid)”. Those are the speeches in Parliament. This is just a speech he chooses to make. He doesn’t get paid for it and it isn’t a “fundraiser”.

        Don’t you understand the difference? That’s quite sad, actually.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.2.1

          So he’s speaking as Mr. Key, private citizen, not the Prime Minister? The other one has bells on it. Give it a tug.

          There are way too many cash-for-access deals going on in this Parliament, and the rot starts right at the top.

          • alwyn 5.1.2.1.1

            Do you really think the event I listed where Andrew Little was talking to people who had paid to attend was a speech given by Andrew Little, private citizen, not the leader of the opposition? The other one has bells on. Give it a tug.

            • framu 5.1.2.1.1.1

              not getting into the argument re: fund raiser vs duty – but if its a fundraiser doesnt that then require certain paperwork to be lodged? (serious question)

            • weka 5.1.2.1.1.2

              In what way is a State of the Nation speech a fundraiser for a political party?

              • alwyn

                It isn’t weka.
                The money goes to pay for the venue and the meal. Nothing goes to the National Party. OAB is just stirring.

          • McFlock 5.1.2.1.2

            Little was speaking as “Leader of the Labour Party”.

            Alwyn is trying to argue that Key announced government funding decisions purely in his role as a not-bovvered private citizen, or even in his capacity as national party leader.

            Which is still using his public position to raise money for political purposes.

            • mickysavage 5.1.2.1.2.1

              The beehive website seems to think so …

              https://www.beehive.govt.nz/speech/speech-auckland-chamber-commerce-0

              • alwyn

                You really aren’t claiming the beehive website is saying that Key was using his official position to raise money for political purposes? You aren’t that foolish are you?

            • alwyn 5.1.2.1.2.2

              You really don’t understand do you. You are just thick I suppose.
              For the benefit of other people I would point out that I never said Key was speaking as a private citizen. On the other hand I would not agree that he was using his public position to raise money for political purposes. That claim is just McFlock being silly.

              I also don’t think anyone went to hear Little because he is speaking as a private citizen. They would have gone solely because he was Leader of the Opposition.

              • McFlock

                The Auckland Chamber of Commerce vision and charter:

                Our Mission

                To inspire and influence business vitality.

                We do this by positively influencing the environment in which businesses operate and by providing ‘opportunities, products and services’that will improve the success and vitality of business.

                Our Charter
                The Auckland Chamber of Commerce is a voluntary association of companies and individuals engaged in business activities in the Auckland region.

                It is dedicated to the development of international, national and regional trade through –

                Freedom of enterprise for those who by their individual and corporate talents contribute real economic, social and cultural wealth to the community.
                The development of a market economy in which there is minimal interference from central and local government.
                The strengthening of Auckland’s place as New Zealand’s pre-eminent commercial, industrial and communications centre.
                Assisting the development of the region in creating a desirable commercial and industrial environment for its citizens.

                That’s a political organisation, as I indicated with italics.

                Announcing government spending decisions is a role of Key as prime minister, not private citizen or even a party leader. Key was using his government position to assist a political organisation.

                Little was at his breakfast as Labour party leader, fundraising for the Labour party, not using his position or resources as a member of parliament to do so.

                Fuck, it’s like trying to explain to a sociopath why murder is wrong.

                • mickysavage

                  +1

                • alwyn

                  I am willing to bet that, at least at the meeting I listed, that Little was there to make a speech to a group that was willing to listen to him.
                  Even a broke Labour Party wouldn’t expect to fund raise from a bunch of people who were paying $15 and getting breakfast.

                  “Fuck, it’s like trying to explain to a sociopath why murder is wrong”. You do understand now though don’t you? Please say you understand.

                  • McFlock

                    I understand more than you want.

                    I understand that you’ve switched topic from the role Little and Key were in when they gave their speeches to the purpose of the speech.

                    I understand that you did this in order to distract readers from your ethical illiteracy.

                    I understand that if this were your true attitude to professional ethics, you’d be in serious danger of a fraud charge because “the money was just resting in your account“.

                    What I don’t understand is what’s happened: when I began commenting here you used to be able to perform a passable masquerade of ‘unbiased critical thinker just wanting to give the PM some rational consideration’. You used to leave the defense of blatant corruption to fanbois like fizberto. Nowadays, not only are you trying to justify the unjustifiable, you’re doing it in a hamfisted way. You repeat yourself, you frequent response to arguments is to simply reflect them back as if you hadn’t been caught in an outright lie, you don’t put any effort into your arguments or your prose… what’s wrong? Ill health? Trouble at home? Or are you propagandists just swamped by your boss’s contempt for ethics, principles, and democracy?

                    • alwyn

                      There, there diddums.
                      Don’t get so upset. You really have no idea what you are talking about you silly little boy.

                    • vto

                      you’re a cock alwyn

                    • the bard wrote about him

                      ‘Oh Alwyn, thy smallish creeper
                      extendith upon the land
                      a doltish finger, a slackened jaw,
                      unfriended by mostith, youith
                      a hero, nay. Few will care if banished,
                      cut adrift to flounder – a floppy foe…

                    • McFlock

                      lolz
                      quod erat deflectio

                      Again. Transparently.

                      So when key gave the speech, he was doing so in what role, according to alwyn?

          • Macro 5.1.2.1.3

            So private mr key – not wearing his Prime Ministerial Hat (he seldom does) uses a speech to make a “Policy” announcement! So I guess he will be paying for the city rail link out of his back pocket then! Good on him.

            • alwyn 5.1.2.1.3.1

              I, personally, never said that at all. I never claimed it wasn’t the PM speaking. If you want to say I made certain claims you will have to read what I said a great deal more carefully.

              I said that there was no “Prime Ministerial duty” to give a “State of the Union Address”. This is merely a public speech to start the political year. It was only the MSM who called it this after Piggy started it, at a time when he was not even leader or deputy leader of the National Party.

        • Sabine 5.1.2.2

          so we can be assured that any money made from the lunch/speech will be properly accounted for?

          • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.2.2.1

            I’m quite sure they will be. The problem is the whole picture: access to the Prime Minister being bought and sold like a commodity.

        • Skinny 5.1.2.3

          It is outrageous this wasn’t a free event open to the wider public rather than this trough feast of ticket clippers.

        • Instauration 5.1.2.4

          US and NZ leaders should take a lead from the transparency of the RU leadership;

          Annual 4hrs for free multimedia Q+A
          http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/20796

  6. adam 6

    Democracy for sale – going cheap, cheap, cheap.

    People seem unset that the Tory scum would try to make of a buck.

    They would sell John Keys farts if they could.

    The Tory scum, and the rest of us – have nothing in common.

  7. Ad 7

    It’s a reasonable but small point; it’s been going on for years.

    I would like to be invited to lunch with Andrew Little, and he can charge whatever he likes, and he can do it as a fundraiser in whatever capacity he likes … as soon as he generates more policies I like.

  8. savenz 8

    +100

    ‘The Prime Minister, when he is doing his day job, ought to be accessible to all and not fundraising for an organisation supportive of his political party. And Auckland Council entities should not be spending ratepayer money to allow selected individuals to support this.’

    People need to try to get these trougher politicians held to account!

    Love the way the right wing citizens and rates payers (I think they recently rebranded but can’t remember name) group never mention the waste of taxpayers money on this.

    Or the millions being wasted on environmental lawyers for all the planning stuff ups like ports of Auckland where bizarrely the council supported stealing the harbour!

    The Auckland Council is as right wing as they come!! Auckland Transport are absolute Troughers too. I just hope they all get their come uppence. First by employing people that believe in public transport might be a start.

    If you are looking for a Mayor – giving Auckland Council and related organisation a big kick up the backside would be a start.

  9. Bernard 9

    anyone that wants to shell out money to hear a liar speak needs their head read anyway.

  10. vto 10

    ” Little was looking five years into the future. Key was finally catching up with the trends that were evident five years ago.”

    And this folks is the difference with conservatives.

    Conservatives never lead.
    Conservatives never have any fucking idea what the future holds.
    Conservatives cannot think outside what they are told.

    Conservative is John Key.

    Conservatives are good for being the ballast in the hold to steady the ship. But that is it. Never use ballast to steer or navigate. Ever seen ballast brought up to deck? It is gross and stinks. Nobody goes near it. It has just a single use.

    It is past time the conservatives got the fuck back down in the hold before the ship hits rocks.

  11. greywarshark 11

    Honest politician that John Key. Put money in, and you get your money’s worth.

  12. Smilin 12

    Key keepin his friends close and the media even closer

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